By Kevin O’Rourke
Thousands of young girls around the country dream of singing at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, but not many get the opportunity But, while some teenagers are hoping to be the next Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood singing country or pop hits, Radhika Gore will sing choral music on the Opry stage.
Gore, 16, has been accepted to perform with the All-National Honors Choir, which will perform on October 29 under the direction of Edith Copley, the director of Choral Studied for Northern Arizona University.
“It’s a great honor,” said the Northwest High School junior. “Honestly I wasn’t sure I would be selected. It’s not that I doubt my ability, but being selected throughout the country in a big deal and I just don’t know what talent is out there.”
Gore is a member of Northwest’s highest honors chorus, the Chamber Singers and a member of the Tri-M Music Honors Society, which is the international music honor society for high school students. She has also performed with the Montgomery County Youth Chorus and the Maryland All-State Chorus.
“I have been singing for as long I can remember,” said Gore. “I come from a fairly musical family; my father is a percussionist and a singer, my brother and mother are also singers. I was naturally drawn to anything that made musical noise. I started out singing Indian classical music because of my culture, but as soon as I was exposed to western classical, I fell in love.”
The application and audition process for the National All-Honors Choir was one that Gore took the initiative to pursue – she didn’t need much pushing, according to Stephanie Baker, Choral Music Director at Northwest. “I really did not have much to do with Radhika’s application other than passing along the information, encouraging her, and answering any questions that she had. Radhika took the initiative to put together the audition video and did really well.”
“High musical standards are expected and assessed in class,” said Baker. “Radhika goes above and beyond the basic class expectations – she is always prepared in her score analysis, she sings with incredible musical sensitivity and nuance, and she is a leader for other students.”
Gore said she was not intimidated by the process at all. “We had to choose two pieces and record ourselves singing them and submit them to a website. Since I recorded in the comfort of my own home, I was more relaxed which in a way made it very easy.”
Gore said that she has been singing alto for some time, but her voice teacher says she’s actually a soprano. “I’m very comfortable with alto and have an emotional attachment to the part, so I’m not ready to let go of it yet. I have been singing for as long I can remember,” she said.
Choral and classical music is her passion, “I love choir, so I love choir more than individual singers. I love the Eric Whitacre Singers and any choir that can get emotions across,” said Gore. But she is still a teenager, “I love Beyoncé. I mean, who doesn’t love her? Her power, energy and passion are something I definitely look up to.”
“I love to sing, so I don’t discriminate. I do prefer choral music and classical music however I also like R&B and some pop. I find that choral music is very flexible, but there is a reason for everything that is happening. Even though I might not know why certain chords are structured the way they are, I can hear it and it triggers an emotion. That emotion can turn a piece into so much more than it is. The words and the notes are intertwined and they just make sense together. They complement each other to get a main message across.”
Gore said a career in music is something that she is looking forward to but it wouldn’t have to be as a professional signer. “A singing career would honestly be a dream come true and I’m planning on studying music and making a career out of it. Not necessarily in performance but something along those lines.”
“A lot of teenagers these days say that music is their life,” said Gore, “but my life revolves around music, and at times what keeps me going is the thought of becoming a professional musician or even a music professor.” She hopes her selection to the All-National Honors Choir can raise the status of music in schools. “I want music to be a more recognized extracurricular activity. It’s so important to some people especially people like me,” she said.
“Radhika has found a great outlet to share her talent and joy for life, and I’m excited to see where she goes next,” said Baker.
Caption: Radhika Gore, 16, a junior at Northwest High School sings with the NWHS choral group.